It was March 1999. John McGregor, general manager of the Kowloon Shangri-La, had just finished the roll-out of the “Shangri-La 2000” strategic plan at the hotel.1 Kowloon Shangri-La was one of the 36 deluxe hotels owned by the Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, which owned and managed the largest deluxe hotel chain in Asia. The Shangri-La Hotels, while each maintaining a high standard of service, had traditionally been managed as if they were independent hotels. In the early 1990s, in view of the rapid expansion, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts recognised that there was a need to create a common goal and a set of common values to bind all hotels and to promote the feeling that they were part of the same organisation. The “Shangri-La 2000” strategic plan was developed to achieve these objectives. The implementation of “Shangri-La 2000” at the Kowloon Shangri-La started in the second half of 1996 and was completed in the first quarter of 1999. John McGregor was now comparing performance measures taken before and after the implementation. The interpretation of these results was not a straightforward task. External factors, the most important one being the onset of the Asian economic crisis in the second half of 1997, had impacted on the results. He had to interpret them carefully to assess the effectiveness of the programme. More importantly, he had to find ways to maintain the momentum of “Shangri-La 2000” among employees and to lead the Kowloon Shangri-La towards achieving the vision of “becoming the dominant hotel company in its market by the year 2000” despite the current adverse operating environment.
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